Paris and Barcelona are fabulous places to visit. The only problem? Everyone else thinks so, too. Instead, have all the sights to yourself at one of the world’s least visited countries. Here, seven countries around the world revealed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as having the least amount of visitors, from a Polynesian paradise to a hidden European gem.
LIECHTENSTEIN (69,000 VISITORS)
Nestled between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is the sixth smallest country in the world. But don’t be fooled by its size — with its fairy-tale castles, mountain scenery and a fascinating royal history, this quaint spot has plenty to offer. The county doesn’t have an airport, so visitors have to fly into nearby Zurich instead.
TUVALU (2,000 VISITORS)
If secluded, picture-perfect beaches are what you’re after, then look no further than this string of nine beautiful islands located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. With Tuvalu’s balmy temperatures, sparkling turquoise water and golden sands, it’s hard to believe that this island paradise had only 2,000 visitors last year.
BELIZE (386,000 VISITORS)
Mayan ruins, a stunning 200-mile-long barrier reef and lush tropical rainforests are just some of the reasons to check out Central America’s least visited country. Adrenaline seekers in particular will love zip-lining through the jungle, scuba diving the famous Great Blue Hole, horseback riding through lush hills and canoeing (or cave tubing) down rivers.
SAN MARINO (60,000)
Skip the tourist throngs in Tuscany and head to this teeny country (it has a population of about 30,000 people) in northern Italy for the same drop-dead-gorgeous views and delicious food and wine (oh, and tax-free shopping).
SIERRA LEONE (74,400)
This West African country made headlines during the Ebola crisis back in 2014 but has been deemed safe and Ebola-free since March 2016. Travel here not only to help the country’s recovery efforts but also to explore palm tree-lined beaches, fabulous local cuisine (think: spicy stews, fried plantains and lots of fish) and friendly locals.
Oenophiles, take note—the Republic of Moldova has a rich wine-making tradition dating back to 3,000 B.C. In fact, the Milestii Mici winery holds the Guinness World Record for the largest wine collection. But there’s more to this tiny nation than grapes (though do try the Chardonnay). Wedged between Ukraine and Romania, the country is also known for its monasteries and rolling hills — perfect for a biking adventure (just don’t drink and cycle).
Guys, this small country in the Himalayas measures its wealth (i.e., GDP) in happiness. It also boasts beautiful Buddhist monasteries, stunning mountain peaks and colorful festivals. Traveling to this magical nation doesn’t come cheap, though — all visitors are required to pay a daily travel tariff of $200 (or more, depending on the season); but that includes accommodation, food, a tour guide and internal transport.